Monthly Archives: March 2015

What’s your Monolith? 

Thomas Wilson
March 24, 2015 by


This past weekend I went to a 70mm screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 at the historic Hollywood Theater in Portland, Oregon. I couldn’t help making a correlation between the black monolith’s purpose in the film, and how a business can spring from a simple idea.  

The Hollywood Theater had shown 2001 during its original run in 1968, and there were people in attendance last Saturday who had been there originally. A ticket to 2001 was so highly coveted by Portland-area movie lovers that it sold out within minutes of tickets going on sale several weeks ago – the theater even added screenings, but those sold out just as quickly. Not bad for a movie that is 47 years old, proving that if you provide an experience the consumer wants, then steady demand will follow. 70mm is a rare viewing experience, since not many films are filmed in that format and there are few theaters that can show the film properly – the Hollywood Theater is one of these rare theaters.  

The iconic image of the monolith sparking the next stage of mankind could be seen as a metaphor for the whole experience. The Hollywood Theater – which originally opened way back in 1926 – has seen a revival; after falling into disarray in the 80’s, there has been a slow reinvention of the theater as a non-profit cinema to honor its special heritage. Armed with a rare 70mm projector, showings of classic films and special events, an assortment of local foods, and even local wine and beer on tap, the Hollywood Theater provides a unique theater-going experience compared to a standard cinema chain.

If a monolith in your life has sparked an idea for a business, let MasterPlans be a tool helping you realize your vision.  Your professionally written, expertly designed business plan awaits!

You Can’t Take it With You

Margarett Waterbury
March 18, 2015 by

It’s almost April, and everybody knows what that means.

TaxSeason (3)

“The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it’s just sort of a tired feeling.” – Paula Poundstone

I know everybody loves to hate tax time, but honestly, I think it gets a bad rap. Let’s focus on the positive: Last year 80% of filers got a tax return, with an average return of just over $3,000. CNN writes that paying down debt, adding to savings, or financing everyday expenses are the most common uses for tax returns. But if you’re thinking about using your tax return to help bootstrap your business, there’s good precedent. When it comes to financing a business startup, $3,000 may not seem like a lot – but it might be enough!

  • Starbucks generated almost $15 billion in revenue last year. Pretty impressive for a coffee shop that launched with just $1,350 in investment from each of its three founders.
  • Remember Ross Perot? His company, Electronic Data Systems (now a division of HP), started in 1962 with just $1,000 in investment. At the time of its sale, EDS ranked 115th on the Fortune 500 list and had revenues over $22 billion.
  • John W. Nordstrom emigrated to the Unites States at the age of 16. After making about $13,000 in the Alaskan Gold Rush at the turn of the 20th century (admittedly about $325,000 in 2014 dollars – a hell of a tax return!) he founded a little shoe store called Nordstrom’s. It’s now a $12 billion enterprise.

And if you’re part of that unlucky 20% that actually ends up owing taxes on tax day? Console yourself with the knowledge that a good number of your fellow citizens are spending their windfall at businesses like yours.

Music and Business – A Satirical Analysis of Popular Songs and Their Business Applications

Pavel Rubin
March 16, 2015 by

Rock n’ roll and business go hand and hand. The rock n’ roll makes money, the money fuels the rock n’ rock, and so on and forth. In the following blog series, I will be (satirically) analyzing the lyrics and the hidden meanings of popular business related songs and applying those to business plan writing and business as a whole.

Pink Floyd – Money

Pink Floyd is one of the most revolutionary and ambitious bands in existence. The song “Money”, off the popular 1973 EP The Dark Side of the Moon deals with the idea of money and relates it to proper business plan writing and business techniques as a whole.

The song juxtaposes money with various effects it has. Per example, at first, the song states “get a good job with good pay and you’re okay.” Pink Floyd, a traditionally anti-capitalist band, has itself made large amounts of money through its music and has engaged in a multi-channel marketing campaign in order to maximize its profits while maintaining its image. Pink Floyd urges new business owners to consider the implications and necessities of money, but to maintain an image of frugality and charity.

Similarly, when writing a business plan, businesses must consider the financial goals of their enterprise, but should also realize that the whole picture is not exclusively composed entirely of money. The song states “Money, so they say… is the root of all evil today.” Pink Floyd managed to cleverly coincide with the popular expression about the negatives of money with the obsession certain business owners have with profitability. Pink Floyd theorizes that business owners with such a financial obsession lose interest in the true core of the business, and therefore become blinded with greed. Pink Floyd, as a responsible and financial musical group, urges new businesses to approach money as a part of a successful business equation, and not as the whole or the ultimate end resort and goal. Business is about providing a service or product to clients and customers, while it is also about increasing company profitability. Pink Floyd urges you to maintain a public image that shows that you have a positive and charitable relationship with money, instead of an obsession with it that will make your customers and clients state that “Money, it’s a crime.”

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